White front emblem from a 1907 White Steamer. This was the White House's first official car, now owned by Jay Leno.
The White Motor Corp. was created out of the White Sewing Machine Co., begun by Thomas H. White in 1876. His son, Rollin Henry White, invented the auto flash boiler in 1899, and with the aid of his 2 brothers, Windsor and Walter, diversified the sewing machine company's products by introducing trucks and the White Steamer automobile in 1900.
Though White outsold its nearest auto competitor 2 to 1, Thomas White dismissed the importance of the car, which led his sons to organize the White Motor Car Co. in 1906. In 1909 the company made its first vehicle under its own name.
During World War I, the company shifted to trucks and stayed with the product after the war, becoming the number one maker of trucks and custom vehicles. When sales plummeted during the Depression, White temporarily merged with Studebaker in 1932, but 2 years later it independently reorganized as the White Motor Corp. Under Robt. Black, the firm became a major producer of heavy-duty trucks and buses.
During World War II, the White plant at 842 E. 79th St. was converted to the manufacture of military vehicles.
(source: John Carroll University)
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